“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” This is the message that was posted on the projects that our children worked on this weekend during VBS, and it’s the verse from Matthew 28:20 that was the focus of two short nights. As God prepared my heart each nightly service, I couldn’t help but ask myself this question:
Do I cling to this promise when I am afraid? When I am filled with doubt? When I face the many trials of life?
No. I don’t. I forget that He is always with me. I sometimes forget Him entirely and focus on me, myself, and I.
What? But, you are a Pastor? Right. I am, but I am also a sinner, saved by grace, and I still have my fair share of wrestling matches with the devil.
See, God blessed me with two inspiring weeks in which…
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Lord, You’ve given me everything
I ought to raise my hands and shout
And I know I have nothing-
nothing to complain about
Still I find myself unsatisfied
filled with jealousy and pride
I can’t escape the pain inside
can’t count how many times I’ve cried
I wish that I was stronger
that I could hold on longer
And if what it takes is pain
and I have to lose to gain-
then make me willing
willing to be made willing
I am willing
willing to be made willing
I don’t want to lose anything
I want to keep it for myself
but I’m looking for something
I can’t find upon a shelf
so when I feel alone and terrified
I don’t have to run away and hide
cause I know Your Son was crucified
and I can live because He died
Lord, You can make me stronger
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Being ourselves around other people is a very difficult thing to do. We feel we need to do things that wouldn’t offend anyone else, especially when in public.
Sometimes we make it a necessity to be a “people-pleaser”.
“I did some research,” as Clay says, and looked up the definition of a people-pleaser and came up with this:
“People pleasers let high expectations, resentment, and saying ‘yes’ when they mean ‘no’ run (and potentially ruin) their social lives. They are set on being perfect and nice.”
I was once a people pleaser until about 2 years ago when I decided I wasn’t going to care what people thought about what I did around them, especially when in public where obviously not everyone is a Christian.
Recently at the beach, which is really a lake a block from my house, I was writing “graffiti” in the sand, consisting of Bible verses…
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A little to the left
a little to the right
this way, that way
looking for Light
a balancing act
one foot- then two
step by step
I’m following You
On a sweltering summer morning, I took a long walk. With sweaty palms, I held my cell phone as I listened to music. I walked all the way to the end of the cul-de-sac and turned to come back the way I came. Out of the corner of my eye I saw this tree-
I had to take a second glance… A tree smack dab in the middle of the creek- looking as if it were suspended in mid air. The roots of the tree were grounded in the earth on either side of the creek bed, and there it stood right in the middle, as the water flowed freely beneath it’s trunk.
Even when the world beneath my feet…
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With every breath
I’m falling deeper
into the hands
of my great Keeper
I’m restless till
I rest in You
With every thought
my vision clearer
my heart draws nearer
when I rest in You
I had the pleasure of having a massage recently- cashing in on an awesome birthday gift from my hubby. As I laid on the table, my tense muscles crumbled under the monstrous pressure of the hands that kneaded me. Jokingly, the massage therapist told me she calls her job “steam-rolling”.
At times the pressure was so great, it was uncomfortable– but the more I emptied myself of any thoughts, the more I was at peace…not aware of any discomfort. As I laid there, I thought about how much I crave being quiet… but how I wrestle with my own thoughts in those quiet moments instead of resting in Him.
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i had to catch
my breath, as i
your azure eyes-
a thousand times
i dreamed of you
and all my hopes
you would out-do
i remember well-
the very first day
i gently rocked
your cries away
i held you close
and breathed you in
that was the moment
i could never begin
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires Psalm 37:4
With great joy, I am watching my girls grow into independent young ladies. While they are still young in many ways, at times they impress me with their insight and words of wisdom. Recently, they asked me what I used to want to be when I grew up. I told them I dreamed of doing all sorts of things- a news reporter, a singer, a…
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We’ve all got stories
stories that need
but every story worth
someone who will
Have you seen the movie “The Wedding Singer”? Drew Barrymore’s character is named Julia, which I can identify with- because even though my name is Julie- my grandfather (and several other people) have always called me Julia! Well, my husband likes to joke that I’m the “funeral singer”. I have sung at many funerals and while it may sound strange, it has been one of the greatest blessings to be able to minister to families in this unique way.
I sang at a recent service, and when it was over, I gave my condolences to the family members. It was drizzly outside, and so I began to head up the hill to where my car was parked. I had several things…
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“Your heart of devotion and obedience is not in vain. Who knows but God how many people have come near to you and were forever changed simply by the fragrance of his love in you? Who knows but God if he will put you before kings and leaders to speak the truth, redirecting the future of nations? Who knows when that small crack in the dam of our enemy’s plans will give way and God’s glory will truly cover the earth as the sea? Do not become distracted or discouraged by the death around you. Death must always give way when the life of Christ enters the picture.”
Amy Layne Litzelman
i read this quote in my devotional today and am moved by the simplicity of it’s truth. God uses our lives as we honor and stay close to him. When we live with a purpose and focus that are for HIM, then his love and grace will touch lives that may otherwise be lost forever.
God only asks that we live as fully devoted to our relationship with him as he is with us. That we do so where we are, now. Life will still have obstacles and hardships however, God’s grace and love will pour out of us and into those lives around us, as an example of his steadfast presence.
Will we give our hearts fully in devotion to God today and forever everyday hereafter?
all that remains
left to decay
a faint whisper
once a fairytale
covered in blankets
of fog so gray
on a mountaintop
tucked far, far away
Your life is like the morning fog—
it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. James 4:14
What little girl doesn’t want to be a princess when she grows up? I sure did! And I still do…I couldn’t wait to visit this old palace at the foot of the Blue Ridge Parkway this past weekend!
Swanannoa Palace was built in 1912 by James H. Dooley for his wife as a summer vacation home. They both passed away a few years after it was completed, and it has been unoccupied for many years. Despite the deterioration of this once beautiful home, the current owner opens the Palace for tours several times a year- but…
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